Looking for a new approach for preserving chicken reproductive material

September 22, 2023

What is the best way to freeze chicken sperm, without damaging its motility? A new project called CRYOCHICK will be testing alternative methods.

Cryopreserving chicken reproductive material is difficult, because chicken sperm is very sensitive to freezing, which results in low fertility after thawing. In addition, glycerol is used as a cryoprotectant to help preserve chicken reproductive material during freezing, but it can also have a contraceptive effect, meaning it may affect the fertility of the sperm or reproductive material when it is used in this context. Thirdly, freezing chicken eggs and embryos is currently not possible.

Preventing the growth of ice crystals

A new project called CRYOCHICK, led by Dr. Berenice Bernal-Juárez, aims to improve the preservation of chicken sperm and female reproductive material. They plan to achieve this by inducing the early formation of ice and using proteins to prevent the growth of ice crystals.

CRYOCHICK has partnered with the National Center for Biodiversity and Gene Preservation of Hungary, the Roslin Institute, and collaborates with Cobb Europe and the Eindhoven University of Technology.


During the CRYO2023 conference in Minneapolis, CRYOCHICK presented results showing that chicken sperm can be stored at -10°C (when ice is not yet formed) without severe damage to their viability, motility, and DNA integrity. The next phase of their research will focus on studying the effects of early ice formation and the proteins that prevent ice crystal growth.